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MG Midget and Sprite Technical - A different 14 inch wheel question - Minor wheels

Been looking at autotests a bit. Looking at winter tyres too. Can't fit 13 inch wheels over my brakes. Don't want to use the expensive minilites in gravel and rocks. I have another set with track tyres on.

Quite like the look of a classic steel wheel. Anyone know if a) morris minor wheels go on and b) if they are strong enough? Be looking at a narrow winter tyre rather than a wide one. Any advice appreciated :)
Rob Armstrong

Minor wheels should be a direct swap - same PCD and midget Rostyles were a popular mod on Minors.

I don't know about strength. I do know that some Minor vans had wider rims than saloons.
Dave O'Neill 2

JHL would be a good person to ask about Minor wheels.

You might need tubes on Minor rims.

I think Wolseley 1500 / Riley 1.5 wheels would also fit as they were the bigger Minor (to be the replacement).

A good idea too to have narrow tyres for winter. Our friends lived in Castle Bolton village, above the snow line, and one winter the village got snowed in and the only vehicle that could get up the hill and into the village was a very old Corsa because of its narrow tyres (and presumably gearing and low power). IIRC at the time our friends had a Scooby that had to remain on the drive.

Nigel Atkins

I've just put winter tyres 3 sizes narrower on our civic. They are on steel wheels an inch smaller so have a taller sidewall . Car is loads more comfortable and rides better...

Not quite as much outright grip but probably nicer on balance.

The Morris minor wheels look like a cheap way to get a wintwr/autotest set. In fact after some googling I found our own Guy had some on his frog in a basket.
Rob Armstrong

Standard Morris Minor wheels are very narrow, just 3 1/2" J x 14. (Avoid very early ones with mushrooms for the hubcaps.)
These will take 145 tyres, and there are some good snow tyres available to suit. The wider Minor van (LCV) wheels you probably really want are 4 1/2" J x14 but are very much in demand, and will be about 200 a set if you can find any.
Happy Christmas everyone!
A Cross

Yes, Rob. I still have those. I didn't offer them as a) l haven't yet located any proper Sprite ones, and b) l assumed you were looking for something more robust for Autocrossing.
Guy W

Spridget 'Pressed disc' steel wheels are 3.5" and handle very well and feel very nice, usually on 145 tyres.

Nigel Atkins

you're discovering that you don't always need the fashionable overwide wheels and tyres. You can regain a lot of the lost grip with tyre selection (subject to what's available in the narrower sizes).

Sometimes too much grip can loose fun (and lose quicker circuit times).

As you've also found the relationship between wheel and tyre size and the sidewall characteristics of the tyres can make a difference too.

As I put I'd contact Jonathon (sorry if I've got the spelling wrong) of JLH Minor Restoration Ltd as he knows about Minors and Spridgets.
Nigel Atkins

For snow you can't beat a narrow tyre. A friend has a Panda 4x4 on skinny wheels and it is better in snow than many of the 4x4 road rollers that are so popular now.
Mike Howlett

I've been in touch with JLH and this 'test' is a go. We'll see what happens. Going down tyre sizes is all good if you don't get to a silly point with grip. I'll have to see what 145 or 155 tyres are like with 121bhp through them. I very much need the wider tyres for track work, it'll be interesting to see how it plays on the thinner ones. Or if it just tears the centres out of the wheels in a (semi) amusing way.

Hilariously, I can buy a Kingpin re-treaded tyre for a rather laughable 17. That's astonishingly cheap, but having watched a lady ram her focus along a kerb I suspect I'm a bit wary of re-treads...

Rob Armstrong

My Minor van had crossply remoulds and it was a hoot in the wet!
Dave O'Neill 2

my car is about 100bph and my current tyres are 155/70r13, I recently did a track day at Brands and span off on the third lap. It was very cold and wet, but not raining, and yes they did say at the briefing about no grip and watch out.
Not withstanding the complete lack of driver ability I am a looking for wider tyres! You could also feel the improving grip from morning to midday and then the worsening grip as it got colder again. I dont know if I would feel such a great change if I had wider tyres.

No matter what size tyre width you have the grip will be improved by tyres that are designed to give better grip at that width (and tyres that are not old and hard).

Also of course different tyre pressures come into play as do the suspension set up and its wear, tear and age.

Driver ability has already been mentioned.

To an extent the tyre width is about the weight of the vehicle.

A selection of tyres to deal with the track, track, weather and driver conditions would be best :)
Nigel Atkins

We used to race in FISC with a 155/70x13 control tyre - cars with in excess of 130 BHP

Dave O'Neill 2

Dave. Or even skinny 450x13 crossplys. Some people work wonders on them!


Happy Sideways New Year everyone!

A Cross

I hope Rob sees the last two posts.

Especially Dave's comment about racing with a 155/70x13 control tyre on cars with 130+bhp.

Heavier cars but the mgb roadster was on 155/80/14 tyres and 100+bhp Triumph GT6 on 155/80/13, I wonder what tyres other light-ish classic cars with a 100 or 120bhp used.

Nigel Atkins

I believe Lotus Elan, with 115 bhp, had 155 x 13
Doug Plumb

Lotus Elan came to my mind (as we saw The Avengers on tv the other night) but I wasn't sure of it's BHP.
Nigel Atkins

There were variety of power outputs for the Elan - the standard car had 105hp, the special equipment model was 115hp and the Sprint was 126. My S3 S/E came with 145 section tyres as standard and I don't remember ever feeling it was under tyred. Plenty of grip in the dry and very controllable in the wet. A very light car of course. Happy days.
W Dunsmore

Rob, for autotests the requirements and conditions are quite different from normal road driving. You'll need to have good grip to get the power down in first gear, but not so much that you can't hold the tail out in a drift once it has broken away. So it is a bit of a balance. It's a bit of a balance, so you want to go for as uch grip as you can get without losing that ability. Apart from the obvious benifit of greater acceleration, it also allows you to do 360s etc faster.

You'll still have fun with cheap low grip tyres and it will be easier to control, but it won't be as quick.
With greater grip, you'll need to be quicker in reaction and more precise to catch & control than with low grip tyres, which are definitely more progressive as noted above. But the latter, while probably cheaper, won't be as quick. Take your pick :-)
Paul Walbran

I recently sold an Elan Sprint. The Lotus figure of 126 bhp was a bit optimistic, but it was probably close to 120 in a car that weighed less than 700 kg. I never had any worries about the 155x13 tyres. It felt perfectly balanced with plenty of grip.
Mike Howlett

I never realised the Elan Sprint was that sort of power no wonder they go well.

So about it's about the same the weight as a Spridget but around twice the power and still on 155/13.

I've been a passenger in an Elan Sprint for a shortish distant on the road but the driver went so slow I didn't experience how nippy they are, it did keep grounding so seemed very low. Despite being so slow on the road the driver was a lunatic on the track and was the first to spin, his Elan, off the track, first lap I think but I don't think that had anything to do with whatever tyres were on the car.

I'd have thought for autotest with stopping and starting you'd want a tyre with more sidewall so narrower.
Nigel Atkins

Planning on a narrow one to reduce strain on things. And as Paul writes, I'm planning to learn the ropes before getting quicker, so when I feel I need more grip if I ever reach the skill limit of the narrower tyres, then I'll go wider, if I need to.

All very well racing on thin tyres - I'm not against them, but that's a control tyre that you're forced to have. If you were allowed, I'm sure you'd go wider because they have more grip in the corners and be faster. Sticky track day tyres don't come much narrower than 185.

I can break the back end out on track using the sticky 185 tyres, and have big leery slides, which is funny, but slow. 155 tyres would not be as quick.
Rob Armstrong

Interesting, the HP ratings for Elans
They varied that much it's not funny
My Elan which is one of the very last S4SE's came with a wierd combo of big valve head on Strombergs, with sprint cams
and 118hp which is what was quoted for plus2's

It's on 165s which are more than enough for the road but gets a bit squirmy(is that a word) after a few hard laps in anger
My mate has 175s on his and it's handling / adhesion doesn't change at all

William Revit

Got myself a set of morris wheels and have painted them white. Waiting for some tyres now and on they go!
Rob Armstrong

Van, saloon or other model?
Nigel Atkins

Saloon ones. They are very narrow! Half the width of my minilites.
Rob Armstrong

Oh, my gawd, ditchfinders, I fear for your life and sanity.

Will you fit them with supagrippy tyres that will wear out in three laps with your driving or go for secondhand remoulds for the true budget track experience.
Nigel Atkins

Tempting to leave the crossplies on there ;)
Rob Armstrong

Oooooh, yes 😄
Dave O'Neill 2

This thread was discussed between 23/12/2016 and 08/01/2017

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